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Thursday, June 13, 2013

Dear Fathers: Man Up!

Man Up!

That's what I challenged a cafeteria full of men to do this morning at school.

Man Up!

The On-Line Slang Dictionary defines this term to mean:
"To rise to the ocassion to complete a task," and, "To take care of one's responsibilities."

They were gathered in the lunchroom as guests of our first and second grade learners for a Father's Day Breakfast.

Parenting is a difficult task. I speak from experience. There was no "how-to" manual available to us when we brought home our first child from the hospital. Much of the time parents appear to turn to their own parents as models and harvest that experience for ideas and practices. Too often, it had been considered a mother's sole responsibility. There are limits to what one person can do. Parenting is likely to be more effective when it's a matter of teamwork, partnership, and shared experiences.

After acknowledging the tremendous role and work of mothers, I referred to research that indicated the powerful potential that a father's involvement can have on the success of children in school.

"When fathers are involved their children learn more, perform better in school and exhibit healthier behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact." Use the link below to read the summary of this research.

I thanked the assembled fathers for investing their time in attending the breakfast, particularly since the timing of the event (8:30 am- 9:00 am) occurred during a traditional work day schedule. Their time is valuable and visiting school demonstrated support for their child. But it takes a lot more than simply coming to school one time a year for Fathers Day Breakfast. Then I urged them to read to their son or daughter, check their report card and access the parent portal of our student management system, routinely ask their child about school at some point each day, attend parent-teacher conferences and PTO meetings, and explore other opportunities for them to exhibit sincere support for their child. It's an investment that can generate significant yields in the future.

So, on Father's Day this Sunday, make a pledge to yourself and your family - Man Up! and get involved with your child's education.